Sam Pullman is a second year PhD student in the Graduate School of Education. After many years as a frontline social work practitioner, she has turned her attention to social work education. Her research explores the connections between sustainability as a wider concept and theory base to prepare social workers for practice. Sam also enjoys volunteering with community groups and taking part in citizen science projects. She has a keen interest in ecology, people and place. You can contact Sam on: .
I initially sought out Shut Up And Write to provide a routine and structure during lockdown and working from home. I wanted to keep momentum regarding my upgrade paper, and dedicate a protected space to focus on my research. My aim was to engage in good study habits and shift my mindset from procrastination or looking for diversionary activities. I decided to use the sessions between 10 – 4 pm as my core hours.
The structure of SUAW was appealing because each session only requires 25 minutes of focus which, I felt was within my capability. Breaking a two hour session into short sections meant that I could realistically complete one task at a time such as, addressing feedback, focusing on a particular chapter of my paper, or editing. Sometimes I would set a writing target for the whole session of 200 – 300 words. SUAW became a time to reflect and be critical of my research. The key to success is that I only need to do this for a short time, and then use the five minute break to get a drink and just relax my thinking. I was surprised how well the sessions worked for me, and that I was achieving my goals. The small steps I was taking, led to the completion of my upgrade paper. I still use SUAW sessions when I really need to structure my projects and research.
SUAW is an online space to work, but also to connect and informally network with other PGR’s. It reminds me of the bigger picture of a vibrant research community at the university. SUAW encourages users to enter in the chat box what they intending to work on during the session. There is some really interesting and exciting research taking place, and the chat box almost becomes a co-journey of PGR’s progress. I recognise that we are all at different stages of their research from planning, upgrade, and viva. There is great energy and enthusiasm which is reflected in the sharing of tips, hints, references and ideas are shared to motivate each other. I would definitely recommend that my PGR colleagues who are feeling a bit stuck in getting started come along to a SUAW session.
SUAW was only meant to be a short term option during lockdown. My intention was to dip in and out of sessions until campus options were up and running. However, I may not have gained the opportunity to become a facilitator and write this blog. I wanted to give back for the support I had received during the sessions, and I am genuinely interested in what people are researching and their progress. Facilitators run the session timers and it’s an opportunity to be creative with race names and engage PGR’s with the session. Facilitators also provide dialogue to the chat box in the five minute break. I also think it’s really important to offer encouragement especially when PGR’s are struggling. So why not come along to a session. I look forward to hearing from you in the chat box.